Bruins gain a split with 3-0 win over Coyotes

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Bruins gain a split with 3-0 win over Coyotes

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

PRAGUE -- The games were only 19 hours apart. But somehow it looked like Boston flew a completely different team out to Prague for the rematch.

Summary and statistics

The Bruins followed up Saturday's season-opening loss, in which they were too often loose defensively and punchless offensively, with a solid effort in all phases that resulted in a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.

"I'm not sure I would have been happy with this trip had we not won a game," said coach Claude Julien. "It would have been a real disappointment."

But they were anything but disappointed after Sunday's game. In fact, they even had a highlight-reel moment, courtesy of rookie Tyler Seguin.

Midway through the third period, goalie Tim Thomas cleared the puck to Michael Ryder, who found Seguin streaking up through the neutral zone. The young center took the pass behind the Phoenix defense, broke in on goalie Ilya Brygalov with a defender closing in from behind, and put home a laser shot as he and the two Coyotes crashed into the net.

"It's always fun to see rookies score their first goal,'' Julien said. "And at least he can remember that one as being a real nice goal. I thought it was a great move."

That made it 3-0, but the outcome was pretty well decided by that point.

Boston dominated play throughout a scoreless first period and finally broke through against Brygalov midway through the second. Nathan Horton poked the puck away from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and spotted Milan Lucic streaking toward the goal. Lucic got the pass and fired home a 25-foot slapper.

Boston scored again with just 33 seconds left in the period. Mark Recchi stole the puck in the 'Yotes defensive zone and tipped it to Horton in front of the crease. Horton spun, fired a wrister left, and found the back of the net.

Thomas looked vintage Vezina in that controlled chaos of his.

"It feels great,'' he said. "It's been a long road and to be fortunate enough to get a shutout off the bat, to have the team play that well in front of you, to get all the bounces and feel pretty comfortable myself . . . it couldn't have gone much better.''

The Bruins goalie, helped by a stifling defense, made eight solid stops in the second period. Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart split half of the team's 12 blocked shots.

"I'm sure Tuukka's standing there wishing he had the same team in front of him as Timmy had tonight," Julien said, referring to the tepid defensive play of the B's on Saturday in front of Tuukka Rask.

Indeed, Boston's intensity was ramped up from the start.

Unlike the flat affect of the opener, the B's were hot off the opening faceoff in the rematch. The first Boston shot on net came after less than a minute and the Bruins had nine more, as well, before the midway point of the period.

But Brygalov, despite short rest, was up to the task. The goalie turned aside 15 excellent Boston chances in the first twenty minutes, and kept it up most of the day. The Bruins, however, kept battling and eventually broke through.

"I wouldn't look at our team as much as I would look at the goaltender on the other side who has been credited last year with their success,'' Julien said. "Obviously these two games here he certainly made it hard for us but we got some goals past him.''

Thomas made 26 saves for the shutout.

"We needed these two points to make it a successful trip and leave a good taste in our mouths. The whole trip has been so fantastic up until the loss yesterday," Boston's netminder said. "It sure feels good to get those two points in the bank and now we can go home with our chins up, feeling good about ourselves.''

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Bruins' skid continues in 6-3 loss to Lightning

Bruins' skid continues in 6-3 loss to Lightning

BOSTON – The Bruins are doing it again. 

With a team that was badly in need of a win, the Bruins couldn’t get any separation from the Tampa Bay Lightning before ultimately sagging in the third period on the way to a deflating 6-3 loss at TD Garden on Thursday night. 

It marks four losses in a row for the Black and Gold with Thursday night as the worst among them, and doesn’t extinguish any of the concerns that Boston is in another late-season tailspin. 

Jonathan Drouin beat Tuukka Rask with a shot from the face-off circle that dipped underneath his glove hand for the game-winner, and Nikita Kucherov added the final two goals to give him a hat trick for a Bolts team that snapped their own three-game losing streak. 

This game had all the warning signs after a nondescript first period with the Bruins giving up goals immediately after they scored three times in the second period. The first was a David Pastrnak power play strike for his 32ndof the season, and the Lightning struck 44 seconds later with a Brayden Point rebound score after a big breakdown by Boston’s best players on the ice. 

Zdeno Chara again gave the Bruins a short-lived lead on a shorthanded goal in the second period, but Tampa Bay responded with a blistering Nikita Kucherov one-timer just 24 seconds later with the Bolts still on the power play. Boston scored again on a Riley Nash wraparound bid that he threw off the diving Victor Hedman in the crease, and Boston had a brief one-goal lead once again. 

It was 1:35 later that Anton Stralman beat Rask high to the glove side on an odd-man rush and that set up a third period where Tampa Bay scored three unanswered goals and sent the Bruins to their fourth straight loss. 

Cassidy: Bruins 'will be fine' if they simply take care of business

Cassidy: Bruins 'will be fine' if they simply take care of business

BRIGHTON -- The Bruins took Wednesday off and returned Thursday with assurances they weren’t thinking about history repeating itself for a third straight season. 

The easy parallels are there, of course. 

The Bruins lost 9 of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs by a point two years ago. Last season they went a pathetic 3-8-1 in the final 12 games and once again missed the postseason by a single point.

So their recent three-game losing streak has set off some warning bells and whistles, as has the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have passed them and pushed the B’s into the second wild-card position. Boston holds a slim two-point lead over the New York Islanders for that final playoff position, and is facing huge games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (tonight) and the Isles (Saturday).

So with all that in mind, has interim coach Bruce Cassidy’s message changed at all to his players? 

“These are teams [close to the Bruins to the standings, so the games] get more magnified and rightfully so,” said Cassidy. “We accept that and we know what’s at stake. The last two didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but the things we do well, we need to keep doing well. We’ve created some looks at the net. We’re generating some offense. We need to finish a little better, and those pockets of the game that get away from us . . . we need to minimize those. We had a few too many of those [moments] against Ottawa. 

“We’re aware of it. We know who won and who lost last night. But we need to take care of our business. If we do, we’ll be fine. We really will. If we take of our business, it doesn’t matter what this team does or what that team does.

"That’s a fact. That’s the message. It’s quite simple. If we take care of business, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, then we’re hoping.”

Clearly taking care of their business includes dispatching both the Lightning and the Islanders. Hoping is what the Bruins ended up doing in each of the previous two seasons, and it left them fully out of luck once the music stopped.